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MONDAY / OCTOBER 11, 2016 / 10:00 AM

Should I Stay or Should I Grow?

Knowing when it’s time to take your brand from one or a handful of units to multiple locations is a tricky equation. Luckily, our experts will provide you with a checklist to follow to see if you should concentrate on the stores you have or take the plunge by growing your brand.


Mario C. Bauer | CEO | Vapiano Franchising International

Mario C. Bauer is CEO of Vapiano Franchising International in Luxembourg and a member of the executive board of Vapiano Holding. While growing up in his family’s restaurant business in Vienna, Austria, he developed an entrepreneurial mindset. In 2003, he co-founded Bagel Station GmbH and grew this bagel and coffee shop concept into three countries with over 15 outlets. In 2008, Mario’s career path led him to Asia, where he was responsible for an international hedge fund in Tokyo, Singapore and Hong Kong. In 2010, he joined APEIRON AG in Munich as the COO growing Vapiano, Losteria, Ginyuu and LPQ on behalf of an institutional franchisee.

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Steve Schulze | CEO | Nekter Juice Bar

Steve Schulze is Co-founder and CEO of Nekter Juice Bar. Starting from scratch in 2010 with personal savings and an SBA loan, Steve and his wife and co-founder Alexis have built Nekter Juice Bar into a predominant restaurant and lifestyle brand by offering higher quality juices, smoothies and acai bowls, made only with fresh, natural, and unprocessed ingredients – something not found at similar concepts. Within six years, Nekter has grown to 57 locations in five states, more than 700 employees and nearly $40 million in revenue. Nekter recently announced plans to grow to as many as 300 locations across the United States in the next five years with both franchise and company-owned restaurants. Prior to launching Nekter, Steve worked for consumer-based companies in various sales, marketing and management capacities.

Andrew Thengvall | SVP of Strategic Growth & Chief Legal Officer | Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers

Andrew Thengvall is the Sr. VP of Strategic Growth and Chief Legal Officer of Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, the fast-casual restaurant concept is known for its made to order food including, lean ground beef steakburgers, Vienna Beef hot dogs and shoestring fries, as well as dessert treats prepared with a choice of chocolate or vanilla frozen custard. Andrew enjoyed a career as a law firm partner prior to venturing into the restaurant sector. As Sr. VP of Strategic Growth, Andrew is focused on taking Freddy’s into new markets and exploring value added opportunities.


Stephen Polanski | Senior Vice President | Buxton

Stephen Polanski is Senior Vice President of Buxton, a leading provider of customer analytics. Stephen leads Buxton’s retail, restaurant and franchise consulting teams. For nearly a decade Stephen has worked to build relationships with his clients to help them to get the maximum benefit from customer analytics and create and execute successful growth strategies. Stephen’s clients include Wingstop, Famous Dave’s, Which Wich and UFC Gym. Before joining Buxton, Stephen was as a professional golfer. He received his bachelor’s degree in business management from Texas Christian University.